Sunday 18 March 2018

Markets keep falling as China concerns continue

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York. Photo: Reuters

IRISH shares were on the way down yesterday, as traders continued to sell in the wake of weak Chinese trade data on Tuesday.

By mid-afternoon in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index had fallen 0.38pc, or 25.65 points, to reach 6,730.55.

The index trended down almost from the opening, in line with the rest of Europe, and kept falling after US markets opened.

The declines were across a wide swathe of the market.

Smurfit Kappa fell again, dropping 1.6pc to €23.48.

Drinks firm C&C fell 1.2pc to €3.59, while property firm Hibernia Reit gave up 1.3pc to fall to €1.38.

Insulation specialist Kingspan gave up 1.1pc, falling to €25.02.

Few stocks posted significant gains on Tuesday, although AIB was on course for a 4.7pc gain.

Stocks around Europe continued to trend lower yesterday. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.3pc.

Concern over global growth prospects and disappointment over the European Central Bank's meeting last week have weighed on the Stoxx 600, dragging it down 5.3pc in December. It's now trading at 15.8 times estimated earnings, compared with a multiple of 17.3 in April.

The CAC 40 in Paris dropped 1.1pc. In Frankfurt the Dax Index was 0.4pc. The FTSE 100 Index in London was little changed at mid-afternoon.

"Investors have had a difficult year and they're struggling to see where a positive catalyst could come from," said Alex Scott, at Seven Investment Management in London. "But we have to be careful about being too negative. Sometimes value is good enough as a catalyst."

Miners rebounded somewhat a day after Anglo American shocked markets with plans to reduce its size by about two-thirds.

Swiss-based mining and trading firm Glencore gained 5.3pc, snapping six days of losses, while Rio Tinto jumped by a similar percentage. That gain however came a day after it plunged 8.4pc in the wake of Anglo American's restructuring.

Anglo American moved 1.7pc lower a day after it shed 12.3pc. The stock is off by nearly a quarter since the start of this month.

Among stocks active on corporate news, Volkswagen rallied 7.3pc after saying an emissions probe affects fewer vehicles than initially thought.

Ashtead Group climbed 7.8pc after saying full-year results will exceed its earlier expectations.

Bayer slid 2pc after a report that Europe's drug safety agency is investigating one of its products.

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